When the APN trip to Israel-Palestine, originally planned for last November, was postponed, little did we know that by rescheduling for early March we would be arriving in the middle of the largest protest movement ever seen in Israel.
It was powerful to join the hundreds of thousands of Israelis in what has become a weekly, and now even daily, show of anger and protest against the ultra-right-wing Netanyahu government. We also went to the weekly Sheikh Jarrah protest, which took place down the block from our hotel, only to quickly turn back in the face of police violence including the use of Skunk Water and water cannons that left protesters battered and bloody.
Standing in the remains of a demolished home in Al-Walaja and learning from the residents.
Our agenda included high level meetings with the likes of US Ambassador Tom Nides, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, and Rabbi Donniel Hartman. But perhaps more importantly, we had the opportunity to visit the village of al-Walaja, to go to Masafer Yatta and to Ramallah to spent time with Palestinian activists and families, learning directly from those affected by the constant pressure of their lives under siege.
To be in the country when Bezalel Smotrich called for the village of Huwara to be wiped off the map was heartbreaking; and we turned our sorrow and anger into back home, organizing the large protest in front of the Israel Bonds dinner in Washington on Sunday.
Me, with APN board members Jim Klutznick, Tom Feldman, Aviva Meyer and Aviva Futorian
We will be sharing more sights and sounds from our trip – the first APN-sponsored trip since the pandemic. But we wanted to offer a few highlights, reminding all of us of the enormous fight we have in front of us, and how APN continues to pledge itself to the end of the Occupation and the development of a path forward for Israelis and Palestinians.